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Hamilton Loomis
Ain’t Just Temporary
Blind Pig Records

By James “Skyy Dobro” Walker
11 songs; 49:20 minutes; Excellent

Born and raised in Galveston, Texas, Hamilton Loomis is considered a youngster in the blues community. In his early 30s, he is hardly a newcomer to music. He released his first CD, Hamilton, in 1994, which received a Grammy Nomination for “Best Contemporary Blues Album.”

Hooked on music through his parents’ extensive collection of blues, rock, and soul records, Hamilton honed his excellent vocal skills and multi-instrumental chops early, learning drums, piano, guitar, bass and harmonica by his early teens. He plays multiple instruments on this album as well as co-producing, engineering, and mixing. While he was at it, he wrote and co-wrote nine of the eleven songs. Guests include Bo Diddley who helped pen, play guitar, and sing “You Got To Wait.” There are also Scott Free, Trevor Root, Vince Palumbo, Danny Beltran, and Michael Bliss.

Loomis plays funk-i-fied Texas music by balancing his blues roots with experimentation and originality. Loomis is one of the young artists changing the face of modern blues. For example, he grew up listening to blues, but Sam and Dave, too. And, he was also a Prince fan, thus the funky stuff.

All of these influences culminate on Ain’t Just Temporary – sparse, funky rhythms, earthy Fender Rhodes and Hammond B3 organ, grooving harmonica, and Hamilton’s soulful vocals coupled with his excellent guitar and slide work. Add in drum loops and other modern production touches and you get an approach that avoids blues clichés while keeping true to the music.

Standout tracks include “Slow Lover” with a solo harmonica opening and a cappella harmony vocals with Beltran on the words “slow lover.” “Legendary” gives us a taste of Loomis’ tasteful slide guitar and multiple instrument abilities with only Root joining on drums. Best smile inducer: good ole Bo Diddley says “ bug eyed sucka” at the end of “You Got To Wait.” Best blame misplacement is found on “My Pen” where the song’s early notes seem to come as hesitatingly as the words he is struggling trying to write.

The quality and creativity of Loomis indicate he will be around for the long haul – ain’t just temporary.

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